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Saroop of the Sikh Holy Book


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sri Guru Granth Sahib

Mains level : Not Much

A union minister has received one of the Saroops of the holy Guru Granth Sahib flown in from Afghanistan.

What is Saroop?

  • Saroop is a physical copy of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, also called Bir in Punjabi.
  • Every Bir has 1,430 pages, which are referred to as Ang. The verses on every page remain the same.
  • The Sikhs consider the Saroop of Guru Granth Sahib a living guru and treat it with utmost respect.
  • They believe that all the 10 Gurus were the same spirit in different bodies, and the Guru Granth Sahib is their eternal physical and spiritual form.

Compilation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib

  • It was the fifth Sikh master, Guru Arjan Dev, who compiled the first Bir of the Guru Granth Sahib in 1604, and installed it at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
  • Later, the tenth Sikh master, Guru Gobind Singh, added verses penned by the ninth master, his father Guru Tegh Bahadur, and compiled the Bir for the second and last time.
  • It was in 1708 that Guru Gobind Singh declared the Guru Granth Sahib the living Guru of the Sikhs.
  • Guru Granth Sahib is a compendium of hymns written by six Sikh gurus,15 saints, including Bhagat Kabir, Bhagat Ravidas, Sheikh Farid and Bhagat Namdev, 11 Bhatts (balladeers) and four Sikhs.
  • The verses are composed in 31 ragas.

What does the act of carrying the saroop on one’s head signify?

  • The installation and transportation of Guru Granth Sahib is governed by a strict code of conduct called rehat maryada.
  • As a mark of respect, the Bir of the Guru Granth Sahib is carried on the head, and the person walks barefoot.
  • Whenever a devout sees the Bir of Guru Granth Sahib passing by, s/he removes her shoes and bows.
  • A ceremonial whisk is waved high over the Guru Granth Sahib either on the move or while reading from it.
  • Gurdwaras have a separate resting place for the Saroop, called ‘Sukh Asan Sthan’ or ‘Sachkhand’ where the Guru rests at night.
  • This takes place at the end of the day when the holy book is ceremoniously shut and rested. In the morning, the saroop is again installed in a ceremony called ‘prakash’.
  • Many tourists specially come to watch the prakash and sukha asan ceremony of the Guru Granth Sahib at the Golden Temple.

Where are copies of the Guru Granth Sahib published?

  • There was a tradition among Punjabis, both Sikhs and Hindus, to copy the Guru Granth Sahib by hand and produce multiple copies.
  • The Udasi and Nirmla sects also played a role in making handwritten copies of the Birs until the British introduced the printing press.
  • Nowadays, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has the sole rights to publish the Birs of the Guru Granth Sahib, and this is done at Amritsar.

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Try answering this PYQ:

Consider the following Bhakti Saints:

  1. Dadu Dayal
  2. Guru Nanak
  3. Tyagaraja

Who among the above was/were preaching when the Lodi dynasty fell and Babur took over? (CSP 2018)

(a) 1 and 3

(b) 2 only

(c) 2 and 3

(d) 1 and 2


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sarthak sharma
sarthak sharma
2 years ago
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